In a comical way, Southern California AAA finds that Tesla outdoes its Tesla/Toyota car and that the Model S trumps all green car choice. AAA arrives at its conclusions is by defining what a green car is and explaining why buying a green car can be good for both you and the planet, already an arguable point. It tries to explain the differences between the various types of green cars, with their advantages and disadvantages. It also offers its real-world evaluations of green cars. This is no small task.
Tesla is the green choice
AAA’s exhaustive green car list included the new wave of “green” gasoline powered cars, those that consume very little gas, hybrids (HEV), so-called clean-diesel cars, clean natural gas (CNG) vehicles, and of course, plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and EVs. By the way, notice the catchy clean trend with diesel and CNG, both fossil fuels is not going away any time soon. AAA Southern California has an extensive fleet of Smart EVs, but discovered that the Tesla Model S is really number one.
Last year’s decision to elect the Toyota RAV4 EV as the green car of the year raised much concern, since by most definitions, it is a compliance car made to meet the CARB zero emissions in the State of California. This year, AAA gave the title to the company that made the drivetrain of the former. The reason why is simple according to Steve Mazor, AAA’s Automotive Research Center Manager and Chief Engineer: “The Tesla Model S is an incredible car. It’s the fastest green car we’ve ever tested: it rides and handles very well; it’s extremely quiet and stops on a dime.”
Model S finally number 1
Although the Toyota RAV4 EV is no slouch, it is a Tesla inside and it can be seen as an early taste of what Tesla’s Model X will be: quick, fast, great handling with more space than a sedan. The Model S is the best selling sedan in its price range, something Tesla is finding it hard keeping up pace with. If you are curious, you can download AAA’s Green Car Guide here as a PDF. It will surprise you, at least, it surprised me.
Skip to page 48 if you want to get to the gist and see how the Model S scored. Then ask yourself, what has changed since the car was introduced, very few things. See where the Nissan LEAF comes in and what’s in between, then, tell us what your thoughts are. Do these guides serve a realistic purpose? Do they answer real questions, and if so, how partial are they?